Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hello October

Anniversaries, birthdays and remembrances of all sorts greet us gently, while we're all focused on the celebration at the end. 
Yes, look forward...celebration is waiting. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Willow Spring Park, Signal Hill

I was going out of town mid-day but didn't want to miss getting outdoors. We headed toward a local nature preserve type of park. It was way smaller than I thought it would be.

It was more like a very brief jaunt than a hike, much less a walk. The trail is stroller friendly, paved with tiny gravel or sandy type of pavement. There are NO restrooms. The middle of the park hosts benches for sitting and admiring the view. There is only a trash can at the entrance of the trail, which is inconvenient if you eat your lunch in the middle and are lazy. There was trash near and on the benches which was disappointing. 

It does offer a nice view at points. There is an old, historical train station that is being restored. You can see it from the peak of the trail. If you go beyond the park trail, there is a dirt service road, sort leads down to the train station and you can also see into the old cemetery next to it.

This was low on the adventure scale all around. It was nice to visit a little piece of local history but that was it. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

We Need The Son

This lovely succulent arrangement was accidentally left covered. The plants are strong and drought tolerant, meaning they don't need much water. However, you see what happened when they didn't have sun. 

You may be strong, sturdy, not easily worn down...but if you don't have the SON, shining down on you, it won't matter. No one can live in darkness...and survive. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

What *Just* a Mom Can Do...

Big box filling with socks for children, women and men fleeing from Syria.
I read about the reports of the toddler arriving on a Grecian shore, drowned at sea, fleeing his country. I am aware of the skepticism about his refugee status. Regardless, there ARE refugees fleeing their war torn countries. I was also heart broken and moved by the world-wide refugee crisis.
There are times God calls us to pray. There are times we are moved to add a physical means of manifestation to our prayers.
This was one of those times.

I am one person. Just a mom, as I have often been referenced. How can I possibly affect the world in any way? One of 7 billion people on this planet.
Maybe I can't but I certainly won't stop trying.

I knew I couldn't do it alone. I called on help from my community. Maybe others would want to help but didn't know how or maybe, no one had asked.

How I got this box holding 609 pairs of socks and 40 mylar thermal emergency blankets, to close.
A list of needs was publicized. I couldn't provide or meet every need...but maybe one?
So I asked. I asked for sock donations. I offered to mail all donations to a reputable address that would get the socks to the refugees landing on their shores. However little or lot we collected woudl be mailed out.

Six days later I sat on the largest box I had, trying to get it to close.

I employed my family's help. I think community service type of projects and volunteerism is a vital part of life as a Christian. I intentionally find ways for my children to serve, mostly together as a family. I honestly think they are so used to it, that they don't even see it as volunteerism or community service anyway. It's just what we do.
Off to the post office.
Teen boys are great at heavy lifting!
42+ lbs box of socks.

I don't believe anyone is too young to serve. The ktbunch helped shop and collect donations, count socks, pack, wrap and mail out the box...Kurtis helped move the box along the long line at the post office.

I've never organized anything like this before. I suppose this is called a grass roots effort? I don't know. What I do know is that 609 pairs of socks, 40 mylar emergency blankets and $150+ for shipping, was collected and donated from my local community in one week.

Maybe it doesn't seem like much. Nobody knows our names, We're not famous or rich. We're not on the billionaire list of charity givers.
I am one person with a few kids.
One mom.
One Christian.
One woman.
Filling one need.

Kurtis helps at the post office by sliding the box along, while we are in line.
I had an idea and I asked others if they wanted to help.
Now, 609 people on a shore I will probably never set foot on in my lifetime, who left a horrendous situation, risking everything seeking asylum and peace, will have a new pair of least.
A bunch of moms, youth leaders, students, kids, came together and provided for six hundred and nine other human beings they will never meet.

It's socks. I know.
Just socks.
I'm just a mom.
My son is just another teen lifting a heavy box.
It's amazing what you can just do, if you just try.

Imagine how much can be accomplished if another person, one single person, chose to ask otehrs to fill a different need, from their community.
Imagine if one community got together to fill another need.
It starts with one.
One for all.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Bonita Falls, Lytle Creek

Majority/start of the trail is this rocky canyon.
I have to admit I was skeptical about this hike. I don't know why. Maybe because I hadn't done any research on it or planned ahead in any way. My hiking BFF found and suggested it.

Parking does require a $5 a day Adventure Pass. There are two porta-potties at the parking area. There aren't really any signs indicating this hike or of a trail or falls.

Google maps led us to a campground and a person there directed us to the parking area right before the campground. This is important to know as you drive up to it, due to the lack of signage.

From the parking lot, which looks more like a gravel turn off, you walk down the slight cliff toward the water/creek bed area. It's a refreshing spot if you don't want to trek to the falls.

There are shade trees and the stream heads toward the left. However, to get to the falls, you must pass that the creek bed and go beyond, in the direction of the canyon.

It will feel like it's  along hike but it's not. The first half is traversing the rocks you see in this first picture. Use caution, a sprained ankle is a real concern. We were all fine. It's full sun but depending on the time of day, you may get a little shade if you stay up close to the hillside on the left. 

Second tallest falls in Southern California.
The complete hike takes about 30 minutes or so to reach the falls. Along the rocky terrain there are NO indicators of a trail or where you are going. Don't give up, keep going. Stay next to the hillside, to the left. It will eventually curve into a woodsy area. You can hear water and see parts of the stream at points, keep going!

You will come upon a few small water falls. Don't be fooled. KEEP GOING! There is some shade. Again, it can be tricky due to the lack of signage. It feels counter-intuitive to keep going and not turn back.

We kept thinking maybe we had reached it...until we actually DID! We all let out a spontaneous gasp of amazement and joy when we found it because it's that spectacular. The pix do not do it justice, sadly.

The falls are so tall, I could not fit it fully in my camera phone frame. The only sad part, was all.the.graffiti. We've seen trash and graffiti at another hikes but this one is tops. It's really shameful how much graffiti there is. It's hard to even get a pic of the falls with out graffiti in it.

A lot of trash too. The falls more than make up for it with it's beauty. It's absolutely breath taking. I rate it moderate because it's not that long but the rocky terrain is tiresome and slip and fall potential is real.
View looking down into the shallow and cold swimming hole.

Hiking during the summer months means water levels are low. The rocky canyon was dry but during winter months, be prepared for possibly more water. The trail is hard to see and sometimes non-existent along the woodsy area. You must go around large boulders at times. 

The falls empties into a shallow pool. It was up to our knees. My friend and I went in with out shoes because there was so much broken glass around the area, we didn't want to take the risk. The boys later went in barefoot and were fine.

The water was cold but being summer, it felt ok. The atmosphere at the base of the falls was a mix of cool breezes and hot air. Very interesting.

We sat and ate our lunch on the rocks. The younger kids enjoyed splashing in the small and ankle deep swimming hole below this one.

The older kids rated it high on the adventure scale due to it's beauty. We saw a few squirrels and lizards along the rocky canyon area.

A little one in a hiking back pack or carrier could work but I think it goes with out saying that this is no place for a stroller.

This is definitely one of our favorites now. It's popular though. We went on a Friday and there were plenty of visitors. I can't imagine how busy it may be on a weekend...if you can find it, that is. 

Of course we had to get in.
Water was COLD but refreshing.

Our Adventure Kids.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What About Our Young Women?

Look...there's lots of talk about the breakdown of youth being brought up in and remaining within 'the church', talk and stats of fatherless young men growing up in our communities, the flight risk of teens...

All this talk...are we over looking what the world vs the church is showing and offering or not offering our *young women*? The world fights for equality, empowerment and a strong female voice. Are we modeling that for our young women, within and from the church?

We can TALK all we want but if we're not WALKING it-we've lost already. How many camps, conferences or youth events can I allow  my daughter, one of my most prized gifts, to attend, where all she sees and hears are men speaking AT her!?! 

And NO, I am not satisfied with the ONE token young woman being thrown 'up there' to share a 'brief testimony' so we can tell ourselves we 'support female leadership'. Our girls and young women need SUBSTANCE and mature female voices being recognized, empowered and heard from within!

As a Jesus loving & following mother, I most certainly can {and will} continue to influence *from home*... But don't act surprised when young women {and/or their mothers} decide there's no place, purpose, or need for them *at church*.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Church Lady: Casual Sunday...after a heat wave.

Hhhhmmm...What to think when your daughter asks:
'Are you going to wear that?'
After the heat wave we've had this week...the congregation was just lucky we were all wearing clothes!

This look was literally thrown together. I didn't put much effort into it and it shows.
I wore on of my versatile wrap skirts that can transform and be worn a variety of ways.
I wore it more like an apron shirt. 

I like how it looked but I think it might have worked better over a pair of jeans rather than a skirt. It was way too hot for pants though.
I wore my hair in a side bun with a flower clip.
I didn't even wear cute shoes, plain old flip-flops it was.
I grabbed my small pink purse and a pair of new-to-me earrings.
Ready in no time! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Terranea Discovery Trail, Rancho Palos Verdes

The kids are lying on a life sized cement impression of a whale.
Yep, they are obviously smaller, 

Trying to find our hike for this week, we found a great little museum. We were actually searching for a restroom--this hike does not have one, btw but if you find the museum, there is a public restroom on the side of that building. It's actually the sight of the old Marineland amusement park. The museum building can be found about two parking lots past the Terranea Resort.

Point Vicente Lighthouse

This trail starts on the bluffs but eventually leads down to the shore. Along the flat, dirt trail are kiosks that share interesting and educational information about the environment, sea life and habitat.

There are stairs at points. I would not recommend a stroller beyond the bluffs. The trail is not challenging except for the heat. It is full sun. There are pleasant ocean breezes--sun protection strongly recommended.

The trail is flanked by native drought tolerant plants, shrubs, flowering bushes and cacti. 

The trail actually leads through the resort at times. Go down past Nelson's, resort restaurant and you'll find the spot the sea lions are usually lounging. Continue on and not much farther you will find the beach access.

There is a cave. You have to cross the beach, climb over the rocks and there it is. We were unable to check it out this time specifically due to the high tide. This trail is low on the adventure scale but it does offer spectacular views.

What most of the trail looks like. 

The docent at the museum was VERY nice and friendly. She filled us in on the disease, what to expect down at the beach and extra info along the self guided tour of the museum. She told us about part of the trail that is the location of the old Marineland Pier, and usually hosts sea lions, but there weren't any today. The tide was extra high with a rip tide, swells and waves up to 6-7 feet!

In good weather you could check out tide pools. When we went, the tide was high. There has also been the introduction of a disease along the coast that has killed off the sea stars. That explains why we haven't seen anything this year when we have visited tide pools!

We passed a few drinking fountains that seem like they might be owned by the resort. They were not well maintained at all. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water.

It was over all a bust for us--no sea lions, no tide pool or cave access. It was ok. We enjoyed the sound of the crashing waves while we ate lunch then headed back. The trail is short so younger might enjoy it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Church Lady: Another Hand-me-down Dress

I think what I like most about this dress is the split sleeve. It boasts a black design with small bits of color (you can't see them unless you are close up) and yellow flowers.

Again with the leggings (aka: work out capris--that I am beginning to feel resentful toward. Just thought you should know).

I pulled out my vintage yellow shoes, but I think this may be the last time I will be able to wear them. They are shredding to pieces. Boohoo!

I accessorized with yellow drop earrings and after these pictures, two red bracelets. 

Last but not least, the floral print vintage hand bag. It turned out to be hotter than yesterday. It's September, what else can we expect.

Do you have any tips to  keeping cool while still dressing fashionable and appropriate?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Propel Womens Conference

Filled to capacity...3000 women.
I was blessed to be invited to this conference, last minute by my sweet friend, Jen. I had no idea what it would be like...and I was giving up a Friday Hike Day for it! I went with hear a personal Word from the Lord. He did not disappoint. 

So grateful for this thoughtful friend.
It's a little scary, to tell the truth, being at an event with 2998 other women I don't know. I figured there were women in attendance that I actually did know and I was right...confirmed thanks to my instagram feed. haha.
Seriously though. SO easy to get caught up in all the female insecurities when I begin to focus on the falsity of comparison. All these other women, stylish, beautiful, fashionable, taller, thinner, trendier, happier...the list goes on. It's overwhelming. Easy to give into it and shrink back into myself-which is exactly the opposite of what was being shared from the stage. Thank goodness!

It's amazing how one bad report can keep an entire generation from their destiny. ~ Christine Caine
 Instead, there were life giving and affirming messages of hope and leadership. Christine Caine started it out and whoa--I was full and ready to go home after hearing her. She is funny and honest and inspniring, to put it mildly.
What I got most from her, the theme of the entire conference, was that we are ALL called to leadership. This sounds controversial, within the church when it comes to females--but the truth each speaker conveyed, was if you are e believer in Jesus Christ, you are called to lead people to Christ...from wherever you are!
I think we can all agree with that.
She was so humble about it though, actually being the one ON the stage, speaking to us. She admitted the only difference between her and us, was that she may have gotten more support. True. 
Her advice for that was to PRAY! Pray for favor. Pray for change within churches so that all women will be empowered to operate in her individual giftings and talents. 

When we learn how to feast, we will stop faking... ~ Beth Moore
 The messages were all so validating. It's not that one type of leadership is better than another. A woman on the stage or behind the pulpit is not more important or more of a leader than the traditional stay at home mom or a woman in the market place. We are all called to live like Christ and share our faith, wherever Christ has called us to serve. one is not above or below, better or worse than the other.

I believe THAT is the message of empowerment for women within the church and in community. The answer to women having sincere relationships is support not competition and condemnation. Instead, supporting each other where we are. No need to feel condemned or ashamed or put down because we are on different paths or in different places in life, ministry and marketplace.

If older people stop dreaming, they will never inspire vision in younger people. ~Brian Houston 
 Brian Houston is Christine Caine's pastor. It is refreshing to see a male leader be so supportive of females. I will admit I tend to be biased and skeptical given my background and experience with male dominated leadership. I felt extremely frustrated and even hopeless for real change at times. 
THis conference though, was positive. I want to remember to focus on that. We can all continue to pursue Christ and pray for those who may block our pursuits of God's will for our lives. 
We must remember we can not change anyone or anything on our own, only God can.

...women being in leadership is not a right but a DUTY. ~ Dr. Haylee Gray Scott
We have a duty to those that come after us, to continue to pursue God's will for our lives, regardless of challenges or obstacles we face. The messages were validating for where I am It's ok to be who you are, right where you are. It's also time to move forward and let of the negative and hurtful events, situations, lies and oppression of the past. It no longer has a hold on us. Great reminder not to go back there. Embrace who GOD says you are and keep pursuing that!

I left feeling amazing. I felt so affirmed. There was a personal prophetic word given as well. I knew it was coming. I knew what it would be and be about as soon as Christine Caine began to share that she had a word. I closed my eyes and raised my hand as instructed, as uncontrollable tears ran down my cheeks. Again, God speaking to and IN to my heart, in the deepest places and deepest desires to remind me that HE is in control. I am not forgotten and neither are the desires of my heart. He knows all. He is here, always.

If there is a Propel Women's Conference coming to your area--PLEASE ATTEND!!!